Anyone who doubts the impact of twelve-step recovery on our society need only look as far as the 2007 Newberry Medal winner, The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron. The guidance of the program originally developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous has become such a pervasive part of our culture that it even plays an important role in what was voted by the American Library Association as the best children’s book of 2007.
In The Higher Power of Lucky, Lucky Trimble is a ten-year-old girl and aspiring scientist living in the desert of California and facing more fears than the average kid. Her mother died two years ago and Lucky is worried that her guardian, Brigitte, is getting too homesick for France and will soon leave Lucky to be raised in foster care. One of the places Lucky likes to go when she gets worried is the Found Object Wind Chime Museum and Visitor Center, where she has a job cleaning up the porch before and after the twelve-step anonymous meetings held there. She crouches by a hole in the wall of the building during the meetings and eavesdrops, listening to those in recovery as they speak about finding their Higher Powers. Lucky decides that if she can just find her own Higher Power, she might be able to figure out what she needs to do to keep Brigitte from leaving. As Lucky searches for her Higher Power with the help of her dog, HMS Beagle, we see how she seeks guidance from aspects of the twelve-step movement and looks to the wisdom of her recovering friends and neighbors for help.
The Higher Power of Lucky paints an intimate portrait of a young girl as she struggles to make sense of a life over which she has no control, much the same as people who enter into recovery through the twelve steps. The book also presents those in recovery as positive role models for the children in their communities, which is especially important in this era in which each of us is more likely than not to be affected by the disease of addiction.
If there is a nine- to eleven-year-old in your life who is curious about how important twelve-step recovery is to our community, or simply wants to read a good book, I would highly recommend The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, available now for purchase online or in person at the Foundation for Recovery Store or from your local public library.